Feeds

99c iTunes song auction bids top $100,000

Test case opportunities a-plenty

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Update Does the owner of a legitimately bought and downloaded music track have the right to sell his or her copy? That's a question one George Hotelling wants answered and has put a track bought off Apple's iTunes Music Store up for auction on eBay to find out.

One thing is for certain: the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is going to be a whole lot wealthier when the auction ends on 9 September. Hotelling has promised to donate his profits to the NGO. He paid 99 cents for the song - bidding has already reached well in excess of $100,000.

Update Since we posted this story, the leading bidder reconsidered his or her rash offer, and withdrew from the auction. Bidding is now at $16,600. You can buy four Power Mac G5s for that.

It's certainly an interesting case. Buy a CD and you can sell it to on perfectly legally, provided you keep no copy. You do not need to seek the permission of the copyright owner, if there is one.

But is that the case with a downloaded track? Not all music services are the same. BuyMusic, for example, a Windows-only alternative to the Apple store, doesn't sell you music - it simply grants you a right to listen to it. Its Ts&Cs read like a software licence, in which you buy the right to use the code, not ownership of it.

Apple's service, by contrast, does appear to be in the business of selling product rather than usage rights, and that, just like a CD, by downloading one of its MPEG 4 audio tracks, you are purchasing that particular copy.

However, Apple's Ts&Cs do state that the buyer is purchasing the work for "personal, non-commercial" usage.

Of course, whoever buys the track may not be able to use it. Apple's DRM technology connects the downloaded song to a specific Mac, and the technology almost certainly hasn't been designed with such a change of ownership in mind. When the new buyer receives his (ridiculously expensive) song from Hotelling, iTunes will almost certainly refuse to play it.

Can the buyer then sue Apple for preventing him or her from using their legally acquired song? One interesting legal challenge prompts another. And a third: to what extent is the new owner bound by Apple's Ts&Cs? ®

Related Links

Hotelling's legal question
The auction

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.